It really is a great disappointment when you realise that something you love is not actually what you thought it was. Melbourne Police uncovered a sophisticated rebirthing and cloning scam operation involving up to a dozen vintage cars. Vintage Muscle Cars from the 1970’s valued at $30000 have been bought by unsuspecting buyers at $400,000.
The police executed search warrants in homes of two men being suspected of swapping Vehicle Identification Numbers and then selling the fakes for a triple figure sum. Forensic experts were tasked to go over the cars with front hood camera that will establish their true identity versus the identity that they’re purporting to be.
Exposing the scams has taken months of police work. The Vehicle Crime Squad has been working closely with car clubs and the groves to identify the fake cars. The police are expected to file charges of obtaining property by deception which sentences the offender a maximum ten years in jail.
So how do you protect yourself from car scams such as this? The team from motorcartel.com.au shares a few tips so you don’t fall prey to these opportunistic guys.
- Be familiar with the tell-tale signs of car rebirth.
Rebirthed cars are dangerous. They are often made with meshed up car parts from either stolen vehicles or those from accident wreckage. As such, you can see signs of poor workmanship that leads you doubting on the vehicles road worthiness and safety (i.e. airbags that may not fully work, or panels and doors not attached properly). Most often, rebirthed cars are done sloppily and in a hurry since the guys that meshed them up wants to get rid of it right away.
- Check the car’s registration papers.
Insist from the seller the car’s registration papers so you can do a comparison with the vehicle’s plate numbers, identification numbers, and engine number.
- Verify if the ads posted online or in print matches the car’s actual features truthfully. Nothing beats seeing it firsthand so you can check the car’s condition on your own.
- Ensure from the seller that they have settled all outstanding obligations to protect yourself against car repossession. Insist for the vehicle history report since it will give you info if there are any debts owing against the vehicle.
- Make the actual purchase in person.
Be alert against online sellers that insist for payment online. It will be wise for you to ask at the beginning how the seller wishes to be paid for the car’s purchase. If you sense a degree of anonymity and avoidance from the seller’s end in skirting from this issue, then get yourself out of that transaction right away.
We hope that these tips will raise your level of awareness against such scams. For now, check the video below on how the Vehicle Crime Squad cracked down on this elaborate syndicate. Drop us a note in the comments section below if you, or any of those close to you, has fallen victim to this scam.